Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kayak Diving in Fort Lauderdale

We are so lucky!  Both Jim and I have the same #1 most favorite thing to do in the whole wide world.  Scuba Diving.  And our favorite way to scuba dive is off our Kayaks.  Fort Lauderdale is one of the few places in the world where this is so feasible, and it’s only a 15 minute drive from where we are.  The conditions do have to be just right though – you want a nice sunny day, and you want the ocean to be calm.  Paddling a kayak in the ocean is a workout, you don’t want to be fighting wind and waves.  So, we check the webcam from Fort Lauderdale beach just about every morning and, if it looks good we gotta go.  Unless of course, we have some actual appointments scheduled for that day.  Just having work to do doesn’t count.  We woke up Monday morning and saw this webcam image:


I actually like the ocean to be flatter than that, but this is doable, and the weather report was for the sun to keep shining all day and the wind to stay the same.  I had a lot of website work on my plate for the day, but I asked myself, “In a year from now what will I remember from today?  That I got my website work done?  Or that I went Kayak Diving!”  That is such an easy question to answer!  Also, it’s great exercise, and we need that.  There have been 2 days during January where we got wet!  The first time the water temp was 75, the second time it was 72 degrees.  It’s a good thing I found an old wetsuit of Mom’s to wear over mine – I prefer to limit my diving to water over 80 degrees.  I rack up extra ‘good wife’ points for going diving in January!

First dive – January 12


Jim caught 5 lobster that day.

2014-01-12 15.16.10[1]

Next dive – January 27

2014-01-27 10.04.32[1]

Those are the only pictures I took, and we didn’t take the GoPro with us diving this time.  It was a nice dive, Jim caught 2 lobster – enough for a good dinner!  And, we definitely got a workout since the wind and current took us a ways north and we had to paddle against the wind and the current in order to get back to the beach by our car.  If I had been exercising in a gym, I would have quit less than halfway saying, “That’s enough.”  But you can’t do that when you’re in a kayak in the ocean – you gotta paddle!  We made it and felt great.  Here’s a video from a previous dive that shows what it’s like.

By the way, if you’d like to learn how to make a video like that, you can do so with the videos on our website.  Movie Maker is one of the things we teach.  And, that’s how we make our living … y’know – that “Website work” that I didn’t get done because we went Kayak Diving!?  Anyway, you’ll find Movie Maker Tutorial Videos on our membership website:  The first 3 videos in each topic are free for anyone to watch, for the rest, you’ll need to become a member – and you’ll help make it possible for us to put fuel in the RV and to do things like go Kayak Diving!

Today we hit the road again because we are scheduled to give a seminar at Royal Coachmen RV Resort in Nokomis, FL, and then Riverside RV Resort in Arcadia.  It’s over on the west coast.  We had no idea that our RV would still be in the shop at this point, but it is.  So, we’re going to have to find a motel room rather than parking at the RV park.  BUMMER!

Friday, January 24, 2014

No Wheels but Good Internet

Well, the RV has been at Lazydays for 7 weeks now.  The latest word is they’re waiting for a part which is due to arrive tomorrow.  We’ve been patient because we have this lovely townhouse in Fort Lauderdale to stay in and all our January gigs were within car-driving distance.  But, Thursday we’re supposed to be at the Royal Coachmen RV resort in Nokomis, FL and present seminars on Friday.  We never imagined that, nearly two months after dropping it off, we still wouldn’t have our motorhome back!  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the part comes in early and they get right to work so we can be back in our home on wheels Thursday.  Wish us luck!  Otherwise we’ll need to check into a motel.  Horrors!
Meanwhile, life has been on hold.  We have our computers and some clothes, and that’s really all we need, but we have constantly itchy feet.  We’re just so accustomed to the lifestyle of “Stow and Go.”  Something just feels so OFF even though we get to Stay and Play.
We have enjoyed being in the townhouse.  It belongs to Mom – she’s in assisted living nearby and our friend Dee normally housesits and visits Mom for me.  While we’ve been here, Dee has been staying with her daughter, so we’ve had the townhouse to ourselves.  We’ve even had various old friends over for dinner.  Quite an experience to have a full oven, a dining room table that is ready without having to convert it from my office first, and a dishwasher to clean up afterwards!  I’m a little nervous that I’ll feel cramped back in the RV.  Jim set up his computer office downstairs and I set up mine Upstairs.  I’m getting a fair amount of exercise just going up and down stairs!
We are really enjoying a land-based unlimited Cable Internet!  Jim set up and played with our Apple TV and Chromecast.  They allow you to bring up content on your iPad or smartphone and view it on the big TV.  But, then he hooked up Mom’s old tower computer and hooked that directly to the HDMI on the TV and that works best.  No need for the Apple TV or Chromecast.  Wow – what awesome slideshows we were able to give friends!  Any picture from our thousands that have been uploaded to Picasa Web Albums – Now Google Plus Photos.  Ahh, and speaking of Google Plus … we’ve taken advantage of the Internet here to learn and practice with Google Plus Hangouts on Air.  WoW!  Once you work thru the initial learning curve, it is so easy.  And it is just mind-boggling what it does.  Anyone can have their own broadcast channel.  Like your own TV show but with NO middle man.  No need for a television studio – all you need is a computer with a webcam (and a GOOD Internet connection!) You can reach a worldwide audience.  You can include up to 10 guest presenters.  You can show what’s on your computer screen, or what’s seen by your computer’s webcam.  You can even hook up a document camera and show whatever you want to focus on.  In our last hangout, we decided to show some simple tips on smartphones and tablets.  We invited two people, Robin Seaver and Honey Burt, to join us because teaching technology is also what they do.  Jim hooked up the document camera to his computer so he could focus on the devices and demonstrate and any of the other of us could talk.  We invited our Geeks on Tour members to watch live and ask questions.  We were still a little nervous, but we’re getting better.  I hope we schedule one of these at least once each month, hopefully twice. 
Screenshot of our Smartphone/Tablet tips webinar using Google Hangouts On Air  Notice how you see the person speaking in the main screen, then the other 3 people are showing in the ‘film strip’ below.  Google Hangouts automatically handles switching the focus to the person talking. 
Earlier in the month we hung out with our good friend Phil May of TechnoRV while he was in England.  He talked about the trials and tribulations of finding Internet connections as you travel in Europe.  Unfortunately, the video shows in all too painful reality the truth of what he spoke – that Internet connections over there aren’t very good.
The most amazing thing about Google Hangouts on Air is that immediately upon completing a hangout, the video is available on Youtube!  You can see ours on our Geeks on Tour Youtube channel, or on our Geeks on Tour Google Plus Page.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Vero Beach

On Monday evening, Jan 6, we had a seminar to present to the Vero Beach Computer Group.  It’s about 2 hours north of Fort Lauderdale.  We originally thought we’d be in our motorhome and we’d find someplace nearby to stay, but the motorhome is still at Lazydays in Tampa. 

Instead of driving home and arriving after midnight, we decided we’d stay at a special place we know in Vero Beach and make a mini-vacation out of it.  After all, it was Jim’s birthday … perfect!

The seminar went very well.  They were extraordinarily attentive and asked a lot of good questions.  We presented our overview seminar we call “Technology for Travelers” which includes a little Blogging, a little Internet on the Road, a little Google Maps, and some Picasa as well.  We started just after 7:30 and we were told that they usually disband about 8:15.  We kept talking till 9, and we didn’t see anyone leave!

That left us feeling really good as we headed on to the Driftwood Inn for a couple days of R&R.  We had already checked in and spent the afternoon there.  It was a balmy 80 degrees and the ocean was calm and peaceful.

What a difference a day makes!  Here’s the same scene next day:

It was about 48 degrees, even the bartender was wearing a sweatshirt.

So, instead of laying on the beach, or swimming in the pool, we bundled up and checked Google maps for tourist attractions nearby.  First we went a half hour north to the McLarty Treasure Museum.  I don’t know how we’ve missed this all these years.  The museum is part of Sebastian Inlet state park, where we’ve stayed in the RV many times.  Fascinating history.  The site of the museum is where the survivors camped after a 1715 devastating hurricane wrecked all 11 Spanish Galleons which were full of treasure headed back to Spain.

It didn’t take long before these wrecks spawned a thriving pirate trade!  And, 300 years later, modern treasure hunters like Mel Fisher spend a lot of time here!

I love the pelicans!

The next day we started heading home and stopped at a museum about a half hour in that direction.  The Navy UDT/Seal Museum.

This was an impressive museum with artifacts from WWII, Vietnam, and Gulf Wars.  Jim has had this place on his list for a while since his Dad was in the navy and was attached to the Seal teams as a boat driver.  He remembers his Dad’s stories of “Hell Week.”  And we saw many photos and film clips of it here.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Didn’t do any partying or drinking in the evening on New Year’s Eve.  We were actually in bed, asleep, well before midnight!  But we did do something nice in the afternoon.  We took Mom and her brother, my Uncle John to lunch on the river, then on a water taxi ride.  This is one of our favorite things to do in Fort Lauderdale.  Although we’ve definitely had nicer days than this, it was still a nice afternoon together.  Any time we can get out on the water is a good day.



That yellow boat above is a water taxi.  Just like the one we’re on.

Going for a Water Taxi ride in Fort Lauderdale is a great way to get a tour and see things like Steven Spielberg’s yacht:

We’re expecting great things from 2014.  Maybe there isn’t a yacht like that in our future, but we do expect to get our Kayaks wet in at least a couple waterways across the country!  We didn’t even take them with us in 2013 because we had a new car that wasn’t fitted for roof racks yet.  Now it is and our kayaks are with us all the time.  Bicycles too!  Our car is now our toy hauler.